Washington, D.C. (Jan. 17, 2018) – Earlier today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed notice of its decision not to appeal the release of an extremely limited portion of its Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book. The portion of the Blue Book that the Court found was not work product was a tiny fraction – what amounts to not much more than a handful of pages – out of a manual that contains at least 265 pages.
The Court denied NACDL’s request for full disclosure because it found, as the government contended in this lawsuit, that virtually the entire manual is work product: strategic guidance for federal prosecutors on how to litigate against defense discovery requests. This is proof that the DOJ misled Congress in 2012 when it said that its Federal Criminal Discovery Blue Book, distributed in 2011 to every federal prosecutor and paralegal, “comprehensively covers the law, policy, and practice of prosecutors’ disclosure obligations.” The DOJ pointed to that manual in the context of explaining that “new rules are not necessary” as “[w]hat is necessary, and what the Department has been vigorously engaged in providing since the Stevens dismissal[,] is enhanced guidance, training, and supervision to ensure that the existing rules and policies are followed.”
The government’s misleading assertion that this manual solved the pervasive problems with non-disclosure of favorable evidence in criminal cases underscores the need for precisely the bipartisan legislation that was under consideration when these statements were made to the Senate committee.
“Make no mistake, NACDL will now redouble its efforts to seek a permanent legislative solution to the government’s persistent failures to comply with their statutory and constitutional discovery obligations,” said NACDL President Rick Jones. “The issue at stake here is no legal technicality. It is a vital protection for all persons accused of a crime by the U.S. government.”
NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer observed, “If the government was not candid with Congress about what is in its instruction manual for prosecutors, how likely is it that it will be forthcoming in providing favorable evidence to the people it prosecutes?”
NACDL is represented in this matter by Kerri L. Ruttenberg, a partner in the Washington, DC, office of the Jones Day law firm, as well as Yaakov M. Roth and Julia Fong Sheketoff, also of Jones Day.
You can read more about the case in previous statements, available here, here, here, here, here, and here. Additional court papers, including briefs, exhibits, among others, are available at: https://www.nacdl.org/BlueBookFOIALitigation/.
More information concerning NACDL's work in the area of discovery reform is available at www.nacdl.org/discoveryreform.
A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence: A Trial Practice Handbook for Criminal Defense Attorneys
This Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The Guide contains multiple user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems. A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence is an indispensable tool in preparing a case for trial.
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Modern cases need modern defenses, and modern lawyers can't practice with an outdated playbook. This program is a contemporary training that identifies emerging technologies and digital evidence encountered in today's criminal cases and arms you with the tools necessary to combat expert witnesses, prosecutorial overreach, and an uneducated judge and jury. This comprehensive CLE program covers both general aspects of new technologies as well as practical courtroom application and legal challenges to the use of these new technologies.
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If you are serious about being an effective DUI defense advocate, or if you’re considering adding DUI defenses to your portfolio, you need to know the latest scientific and legal strategies to optimize your success at trial. Learn from the best-of-the-best in the field in this unique CLE Program, updated for 2021.
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From challenging the arrest and seizure to picking a jury and cross-examining police officers, defense attorneys handling drug cases must be able to construct a defense that will increase the chances of the client getting a positive result for your client.
Effective motion practice, juror selection, and storytelling have never been more important. This seminar will introduce defense counsel to techniques that have been used at recent drug trials to rebut specific claims and overcome the emotion created in today’s criminal legal system.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.